Norfolk gunsmith aims high as customers get younger

Gunsmith, Philip Webster, at his business at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Gunsmith, Philip Webster, at his business at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A Norfolk gunsmith is targeting his business at a younger generation of shooters as he looks to bring an old trade into the modern world.

Philip Webster, managing director of Philip Webster Gunsmith, said that while there was a big shooting community in East Anglia, it was the younger customer base with greatest potential for growth.

'I'm getting quite a young customer coming in, usually for pidgeon shooting,' said Mr Webster. 'It's promising for the future - I'd like to make more modern guns to grow that area.'

At 30 years old, Mr Webster is one of the youngest gunsmiths in the country who has faced off 'worryingly slow' expansion when starting out at 24 to develop demand in surprising areas.

His company, which moved from his garden shed to Wymondham Business Centre last year, works with pupils at the New Eccles Hall School and sea scout groups in the region to teach shooting basics.


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'It's about the responsibility of shooting a gun,' continued Mr Webster. 'Some even come back to us when they're older, as customers, which is great.'

A particular way Mr Webster hopes he and his two assistants can expand is by customising guns to the personal taste of gun enthusiasts.

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Spray-painting and alterations are a trend from places such as Louisiana and Texas in the southern United States where Mr Webster said he plans to visit next year.

'The customisation is going to be a bit of a niche,' he added. 'I work with gunsmiths and estates around East Anglia, but that's going to be a bit different - these customers often go to America and Dubai with their guns.'

With plans for expansions such as these, Mr Webster maintained that the farms of East Anglia were still crucial to surviving as a £500,000 turnover business every year.

He added that there were many young people keen on gaining gunsmith apprentices with the company, and would like to take on a second apprentice alongside his current team in the next year.

Is your business looking to grow in a niche market? Contact business writer Jess Staufenberg on 01603772531 or jessica.staufenberg@archant.co.uk or tweet @StaufenbergJ.

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